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  1. #1

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    "Teach a man to punch, you just taught that man to thrust a sword or a knife" it's th

    I'm always perplexed when I see text describing traditional pugilistic arts stemming from the civilian sector as if to say there is no way these arts could be used on the battlefield.

    When the Satsuma clan invaded Ryukyu did the Okinawan Bushi employ Karate/Tode like one would expect in modern times?

    I'll give the reader or the guy prepared to S.W.A.G (scientific wild ass guessing) a hint... "Teach a man to punch, you just taught that man to thrust a sword or a knife"

    As a Historian (MA at the U of Mi W/ focus of medieval warfare) The internet has spread some half truths on warfare in the "pre gunpowder" era. (especially on grappling due to the MMA craze...)

    I'll throw out the question "Ever wonder why traditional pugilistic stand up arts out number traditional grappling arts 10 to 1 in the history books?" Answer: "Teach a man to punch, you just taught that man to thrust a sword or a knife" it's that simple. (ever notice 99% of historical pugilistic arts trained weapon systems) who was actually civilian and who was military?

    Traditional tactics and strategies of warfare in the "pre gunpowder" era were based around weapon systems and unit formation with that weapon system (pike, sword and shield, polearm etc) the logical assumption is that these pugilistic arts were at one time, based around certain weapon systems. Teach a man to punch with a certain technique you just taught him to thrust a certain weapon like a pike. (Xingyiquan)

    Notice how I keep grinding this home?


    Reality is Grappling and pugilism were "Oh **** factors!" that never (even in today's world) were relied upon to carry the field. From the dawn of time till now...... As a unit commander something has gone seriously wrong when your unit cohesion has disintegrated and you forced to resort to hand to hand combat!

    Pre gunpowder.. units didn't break formation and square off "one on one" in some giant skirmish formation reminiscent of a BS movie. Formations stayed tight & moved around the battlefield, or held vital ground. There are plenty of English primary first source eye witness accounts from the 100 yrs war to the Wars of the Roses debunking grappling or pugilism (as we know them) as a primary Battlefield arts. They trained grappling based around employing a weapon system, if they trained grappling... if they trained in pugilism, they trained striking with the weapon, or stinking to free up the weapon.

    Holding a line in a formation and maintaining unit cohesion and discipline was the most important factor. Again... One didn't break formation rush the enemy, if you did, while your opponent defended, his linemen put you down. BY ALL FACTUAL ACCOUNTS IF YOU LOST YOU FOOTING ON THE BATTLEFIELD YOU DIED! Think about this the next time someone pushes grappling arts in a historical military context.

    Holding a formation and using a weapon, putting two swords/weapons on one, restricting the enemy's movements, flanking, pinching/enveloping etc ... When a units cohesion was lost, death and defeat.. and then even then.... the victor didn't all of a sudden break formation go into "one on one" mode! That was a risk, and there have been plenty of battles lost at this critical time (Battle of Hasting when the Normans feigned a retreat comes to mind)

    I think all but the ignorant believe the odds are greatly against them if they attempt to grapple or strike against someone who is trained in a weapon. About the only thing one can do is maneuver or retrograde and hope the user makes a mistake in positioning. That's usually not going to happen. Realistically.... Ya can't catch a sword, kick a knife out of someone's hands, or pull guard against a trained weapon's user... Can you catch a bullet? Can you kick a gun out of the hand when it's pointed right at you? Can you pull guard without being shanked a half of dozen times? Not against someone who knows what they are doing with a weapon. I can go further to solidify "why" pugilistic arts in a historical context out numbered grappling arts. Can one defend themselves with grappling in a 2 vs 1 scenario? How about 3 vs 1? (how about in a modern context.. 2 street thugs akin to serious violence? What's the odds of pulling guard? Not good right? Of course no grappler would do that, they would retrograde and resort to pugilism. (HUGE emphasis on retrograding)

    That's why grappling and pugilism were never really the main focuses in military systems "pre gunpowder" (Same as now) Yea the military trains in close quarters tactics But most their actual training, the ratio is the same and a solider in "pre gunpowder" Tactics based around unit formation and with a weapon system (Fire teams, Platoons etc )

    Back to the question:

    That Okinawan Bushi, who heavily influenced by China fought with sword and shield, spear and pike, Probably thrust with a technique similar to Gyaku Zuki, probably slashed with a technique similar to Shuto Uchi and probably manipulated a shield with technique that closing resembled Age & Ude Uke.

    It's up to the individual opinion "if' that was karate. There is no right or wrong.
    Last edited by Shoto456; 11/18/2017 9:26am at .

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoto456 View Post
    I'm always perplexed when I see text describing traditional pugilistic arts stemming from the civilian sector as if to say there is no way these arts could be used on the battlefield.

    When the Satsuma clan invaded Ryukyu did the Okinawan Bushi employ Karate/Tode like one would expect in modern times?

    I'll give the reader or the guy prepared to S.W.A.G (scientific wild ass guessing) a hint... "Teach a man to punch, you just taught that man to thrust a sword or a knife"

    As a Historian (MA at the U of Mi W/ focus of medieval warfare) The internet has spread some half truths on warfare in the "pre gunpowder" era. (especially on grappling due to the MMA craze...)

    I'll throw out the question "Ever wonder why traditional pugilistic stand up arts out number traditional grappling arts 10 to 1 in the history books?" Answer: "Teach a man to punch, you just taught that man to thrust a sword or a knife" it's that simple. (ever notice 99% of historical pugilistic arts trained weapon systems) who was actually civilian and who was military?

    Traditional tactics and strategies of warfare in the "pre gunpowder" era were based around weapon systems and unit formation with that weapon system (pike, sword and shield, polearm etc) the logical assumption is that these pugilistic arts were at one time, based around certain weapon systems. Teach a man to punch with a certain technique you just taught him to thrust a certain weapon like a pike. (Xingyiquan)

    Notice how I keep grinding this home?


    Reality is Grappling and pugilism were "Oh **** factors!" that never (even in today's world) were relied upon to carry the field. From the dawn of time till now...... As a unit commander something has gone seriously wrong when your unit cohesion has disintegrated and you forced to resort to hand to hand combat!

    Pre gunpowder.. units didn't break formation and square off "one on one" in some giant skirmish formation reminiscent of a BS movie. Formations stayed tight & moved around the battlefield, or held vital ground. There are plenty of English primary first source eye witness accounts from the 100 yrs war to the Wars of the Roses debunking grappling or pugilism (as we know them) as a primary Battlefield arts. They trained grappling based around employing a weapon system, if they trained grappling... if they trained in pugilism, they trained striking with the weapon, or stinking to free up the weapon.

    Holding a line in a formation and maintaining unit cohesion and discipline was the most important factor. Again... One didn't break formation rush the enemy, if you did, while your opponent defended, his linemen put you down. BY ALL FACTUAL ACCOUNTS IF YOU LOST YOU FOOTING ON THE BATTLEFIELD YOU DIED! Think about this the next time someone pushes grappling arts in a historical military context.

    Holding a formation and using a weapon, putting two swords/weapons on one, restricting the enemy's movements, flanking, pinching/enveloping etc ... When a units cohesion was lost, death and defeat.. and then even then.... the victor didn't all of a sudden break formation go into "one on one" mode! That was a risk, and there have been plenty of battles lost at this critical time (Battle of Hasting when the Normans feigned a retreat comes to mind)

    I think all but the ignorant believe the odds are greatly against them if they attempt to grapple or strike against someone who is trained in a weapon. About the only thing one can do is maneuver or retrograde and hope the user makes a mistake in positioning. That's usually not going to happen. Realistically.... Ya can't catch a sword, kick a knife out of someone's hands, or pull guard against a trained weapon's user... Can you catch a bullet? Can you kick a gun out of the hand when it's pointed right at you? Can you pull guard without being shanked a half of dozen times? Not against someone who knows what they are doing with a weapon. I can go further to solidify "why" pugilistic arts in a historical context out numbered grappling arts. Can one defend themselves with grappling in a 2 vs 1 scenario? How about 3 vs 1? (how about in a modern context.. 2 street thugs akin to serious violence? What's the odds of pulling guard? Not good right? Of course no grappler would do that, they would retrograde and resort to pugilism. (HUGE emphasis on retrograding)

    That's why grappling and pugilism were never really the main focuses in military systems "pre gunpowder" (Same as now) Yea the military trains in close quarters tactics But most their actual training, the ratio is the same and a solider in "pre gunpowder" Tactics based around unit formation and with a weapon system (Fire teams, Platoons etc )

    Back to the question:

    That Okinawan Bushi, who heavily influenced by China fought with sword and shield, spear and pike, Probably thrust with a technique similar to Gyaku Zuki, probably slashed with a technique similar to Shuto Uchi and probably manipulated a shield with technique that closing resembled Age & Ude Uke.

    It's up to the individual opinion "if' that was karate. There is no right or wrong.
    Wow great answer. thanks for the read!

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoto456 View Post
    I'm always perplexed when I see text describing traditional pugilistic arts stemming from the civilian sector as if to say there is no way these arts could be used on the battlefield.

    When the Satsuma clan invaded Ryukyu did the Okinawan Bushi employ Karate/Tode like one would expect in modern times?

    I'll give the reader or the guy prepared to S.W.A.G (scientific wild ass guessing) a hint... "Teach a man to punch, you just taught that man to thrust a sword or a knife"

    As a Historian (MA at the U of Mi W/ focus of medieval warfare) The internet has spread some half truths on warfare in the "pre gunpowder" era. (especially on grappling due to the MMA craze...)

    I'll throw out the question "Ever wonder why traditional pugilistic stand up arts out number traditional grappling arts 10 to 1 in the history books?" Answer: "Teach a man to punch, you just taught that man to thrust a sword or a knife" it's that simple. (ever notice 99% of historical pugilistic arts trained weapon systems) who was actually civilian and who was military?

    Traditional tactics and strategies of warfare in the "pre gunpowder" era were based around weapon systems and unit formation with that weapon system (pike, sword and shield, polearm etc) the logical assumption is that these pugilistic arts were at one time, based around certain weapon systems. Teach a man to punch with a certain technique you just taught him to thrust a certain weapon like a pike. (Xingyiquan)

    Notice how I keep grinding this home?


    Reality is Grappling and pugilism were "Oh **** factors!" that never (even in today's world) were relied upon to carry the field. From the dawn of time till now...... As a unit commander something has gone seriously wrong when your unit cohesion has disintegrated and you forced to resort to hand to hand combat!

    Pre gunpowder.. units didn't break formation and square off "one on one" in some giant skirmish formation reminiscent of a BS movie. Formations stayed tight & moved around the battlefield, or held vital ground. There are plenty of English primary first source eye witness accounts from the 100 yrs war to the Wars of the Roses debunking grappling or pugilism (as we know them) as a primary Battlefield arts. They trained grappling based around employing a weapon system, if they trained grappling... if they trained in pugilism, they trained striking with the weapon, or stinking to free up the weapon.

    Holding a line in a formation and maintaining unit cohesion and discipline was the most important factor. Again... One didn't break formation rush the enemy, if you did, while your opponent defended, his linemen put you down. BY ALL FACTUAL ACCOUNTS IF YOU LOST YOU FOOTING ON THE BATTLEFIELD YOU DIED! Think about this the next time someone pushes grappling arts in a historical military context.

    Holding a formation and using a weapon, putting two swords/weapons on one, restricting the enemy's movements, flanking, pinching/enveloping etc ... When a units cohesion was lost, death and defeat.. and then even then.... the victor didn't all of a sudden break formation go into "one on one" mode! That was a risk, and there have been plenty of battles lost at this critical time (Battle of Hasting when the Normans feigned a retreat comes to mind)

    I think all but the ignorant believe the odds are greatly against them if they attempt to grapple or strike against someone who is trained in a weapon. About the only thing one can do is maneuver or retrograde and hope the user makes a mistake in positioning. That's usually not going to happen. Realistically.... Ya can't catch a sword, kick a knife out of someone's hands, or pull guard against a trained weapon's user... Can you catch a bullet? Can you kick a gun out of the hand when it's pointed right at you? Can you pull guard without being shanked a half of dozen times? Not against someone who knows what they are doing with a weapon. I can go further to solidify "why" pugilistic arts in a historical context out numbered grappling arts. Can one defend themselves with grappling in a 2 vs 1 scenario? How about 3 vs 1? (how about in a modern context.. 2 street thugs akin to serious violence? What's the odds of pulling guard? Not good right? Of course no grappler would do that, they would retrograde and resort to pugilism. (HUGE emphasis on retrograding)

    That's why grappling and pugilism were never really the main focuses in military systems "pre gunpowder" (Same as now) Yea the military trains in close quarters tactics But most their actual training, the ratio is the same and a solider in "pre gunpowder" Tactics based around unit formation and with a weapon system (Fire teams, Platoons etc )

    Back to the question:

    That Okinawan Bushi, who heavily influenced by China fought with sword and shield, spear and pike, Probably thrust with a technique similar to Gyaku Zuki, probably slashed with a technique similar to Shuto Uchi and probably manipulated a shield with technique that closing resembled Age & Ude Uke.

    It's up to the individual opinion "if' that was karate. There is no right or wrong.
    I was not "implying that there was no way these arts could be used on the battlefield" as I annotated in the beginning of this thread. I appreciate both Karate and BJJ as arts and was merely asking a question (about Karate) to the community when my research exhausted.

    Your underlying text definitely implies that you think I am not intelligent and that you needed to enlighten me and write a bunch of paragraphs about why unarmed fighters should not fight armed fighters which seems pretty common knowledge to me and was never implied. Then you went into a tangent about how grappling would be ineffective against an armed soldier (which also seems pretty common knowledge to me) when grappling was never even mentioned in the original post.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoto456 View Post
    I'll throw out the question "Ever wonder why traditional pugilistic stand up arts out number traditional grappling arts 10 to 1 in the history books?" Answer: "Teach a man to punch, you just taught that man to thrust a sword or a knife" it's that simple.
    This is false: grappling systems have been at least as common as pugilist systems when it comes to training armies. I also disagree with the premise that teaching a punch also teaches a sword thrust or pike thrust- either weapon thrust has technical differences with a punch that are as big as their technical similarities.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoto456 View Post
    I'll throw out the question "Ever wonder why traditional pugilistic stand up arts out number traditional grappling arts 10 to 1 in the history books?"
    Prove that's true (the 10 to 1 thing) and then we'll see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gojusamurai View Post
    Wow great answer. thanks for the read!
    He just wrote a bunch of unsubstantiated bullshit.
    There is also zero correlation in the mechanics of punching and using a pike or a blade. Anyone with any actual knowledge of knife, sword, staff, polearm, or shield work would know this.

    This is very easy to test. Grab a butter knife, icepick or hammer grip.
    Now punch.
    See. Easy.

    Now if anyone wants to get nitpicky they can google up the "MA at the U of Mi W/ focus of medieval warfare" program and see if it exists. I am not even going to bother but please let me know if I am wrong, I love being wrong when I make assumptions.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghost55 View Post
    Violence is pretty uncommon in clubs in this area, and the dude didn't seem particularly hostile up until the moment he slapped me.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    BILL HICKS,
    1961-1994

    Quote Originally Posted by WFMurphyPhD View Post
    Slamming the man in the bottom position from time to time keeps everybody on their toes and discourages butt scooting stupidity.

  7. #7
    BackFistMonkey's Avatar
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    Hey Guyz!
    https://wmich.edu/medieval/academics/graduate/students
    Students pursuing the Master of Arts in medieval studies at Western Michigan University come to the Medieval Institute from variety of educational backgrounds and from throughout the United States.
    A similar program does exist after all!
    No one in their student list matches the description given here at all and other claims are unsubstantiated. Not to mention most of the claims involving Technique and Mechanics are flat out wrong as described and without further explanations.

    A punch dagger will share mechanics of a punch, and punch daggers were very very low (if not nonexistent) on the list of Medieval battlefield weapons.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghost55 View Post
    Violence is pretty uncommon in clubs in this area, and the dude didn't seem particularly hostile up until the moment he slapped me.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    BILL HICKS,
    1961-1994

    Quote Originally Posted by WFMurphyPhD View Post
    Slamming the man in the bottom position from time to time keeps everybody on their toes and discourages butt scooting stupidity.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by BackFistMonkey View Post
    He just wrote a bunch of unsubstantiated bullshit.
    There is also zero correlation in the mechanics of punching and using a pike or a blade. Anyone with any actual knowledge of knife, sword, staff, polearm, or shield work would know this.

    This is very easy to test. Grab a butter knife, icepick or hammer grip.
    Now punch.
    See. Easy.

    Now if anyone wants to get nitpicky they can google up the "MA at the U of Mi W/ focus of medieval warfare" program and see if it exists. I am not even going to bother but please let me know if I am wrong, I love being wrong when I make assumptions.
    I'm right here would you like me to start naming names of who's who in the USA. 30+ years fighting heavy weapons with rebated steel Rattan wasters in Battle of Nations/American combat league,SCA etc. (feel free to google) Trained Kendo with one of the ONLY three Hachidans outside of Japan (at that time) That should be very easy for you to know where I'm located. Do your homework

    And I'm a Sandan in Shotokan Karate...

    Come again with your comments?

    Unlike many here, I'm very qualified to type what I typed. There is also extensive historical accounts to calibrate what I typed.

    Just because it doesn't jive with your limited knowledge of history doesn't mean it isn't so...Sorry buckaroos it is what it is... Battlefield skills just took to much time to be tweeking the "jit" or the "jab" and when they did.. it was probably the jab over the Jit.

    Buy it don't buy it... doesn't make it any less the truth.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoto456 View Post
    I'm always perplexed when I see text describing traditional pugilistic arts stemming from the civilian sector as if to say there is no way these arts could be used on the battlefield.
    hear hear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoto456 View Post
    As a Historian (MA at the U of Mi W/ focus of medieval warfare) The internet has spread some half truths on warfare in the "pre gunpowder" era. (especially on grappling due to the MMA craze...)
    Ah a kindred spirit, nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoto456 View Post
    Traditional tactics and strategies of warfare in the "pre gunpowder" era were based around weapon systems and unit formation with that weapon system (pike, sword and shield, polearm etc) the logical assumption is that these pugilistic arts were at one time, based around certain weapon systems. Teach a man to punch with a certain technique you just taught him to thrust a certain weapon like a pike. (Xingyiquan)
    probably, haven't done any spear yet myself but....
    Quote Originally Posted by Shoto456 View Post
    slashed with a technique similar to Shuto Uchi
    This is wrong. Cutting with a sword is completely, utterly different from anything shuto like. Or any other karate strike. There are different dynamics involved, which leads me to disagree very respectfully with your next one:

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoto456 View Post
    It's up to the individual opinion "if' that was karate. There is no right or wrong.
    I think those are two different beasts. The only thing I could think of as having good links with any 'battlefield art' is okinawan kobudo. (short sword/spear and turtle shell shield). Then again, the very very very most important weapon platform, missile fire, is still absent. Arrows, slingshots and whatnot are by FAR the most important for casualties on the battlefield.

    no, jumping kicks don't qualify as missiles ;-)

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by BackFistMonkey View Post
    Hey Guyz!


    A punch dagger will share mechanics of a punch, and punch daggers were very very low (if not nonexistent) on the list of Medieval battlefield weapons.
    You mean stuff like this? http://www.kultofathena.com/images/SNDA5305_7_l.jpg These were actually pretty popular in the late medieval period. Rondeeldolk / rondel daggers.

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